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Three Easy Breath Practices to Restore Energy & Focus

Whether you're feeling anxious, stressed, or low energy, below are three quick, easy breath practices you can do throughout your day to reclaim energy and focus.


1) Breath of Joy


When to use it:

  • When you’re hitting a slump and tempted to drink that 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee that might send you into jitter land.

  • When you need to reset your mood and drop some stress or frustration from an email, meeting or challenging situation.

How:

  1. Stand with feet wide apart (3-4 ft), toes out heels in, a bit of bend and bounce in the knees.

  2. Breathe in through the nose three big successive sips of air: 1) Sip in, arms swing up to the front; 2) Sip in, swing arms to a T; 3) Sip, swing arms above the head.

  3. Big exhale through the mouth, let it out with a sound, bend the knees and drop your head to your knees.

  4. Repeat 5 times.

  5. Slowly rise to stand. Close the eyes. Place one hand on the belly, one hand on the heart, and just notice what is present -- maybe a smile on your face, maybe some emotions moving, whatever is there, just notice & accept it.


By mainlining a rush of oxygen into your system, moving your body, and consciously releasing whatever is stressing you, you give your system a literal reboot.


(Caution: If you have a heart condition or get dizzy: slow down, and keep your head above your heart.)

 

2) Box Breathing


When to use it:

  • When you need to get calm and focused. Box Breathing is famously used by Navy Seals to stay calm and improve their concentration in extremely tense situations. Slow, stable breathing calms the heart, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cortisol so you can think clearly.

How:

  1. Exhale completely, releasing all the air from your lungs.

  2. Breathe in through your nose as you slowly count to four in your head.

  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.

  4. Exhale for another count of four.

  5. Hold your breath again for a count of four.

  6. Repeat for three to four rounds.

(Summary: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4.)

 

3) Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)


When to use it:

  • When you’re getting stuck in one way of thinking. This practice balances the left (verbal / logic) and right (creative) hemispheres of the brain.

  • To sharpen focus and relieve anxiety.

How:

  1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb.

  2. Inhale through your left nostril for a count of four seconds.

  3. Close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger, while you remove your thumb from the right nostril.

  4. Exhale through your right nostril for a count of eight seconds.

  5. Inhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds.

  6. Close the right nostril with your right thumb.

  7. Exhale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. This completes one full round.

  8. Repeat for 3-4 more rounds, or until you feel complete.


(Caution: Pass if you have a cold or stuffy nose.)


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